Plymouth Whitemarsh, Pa. A quarterback benching, three interceptions by one quarterback, three lost fumbles by another quarterback, over 200 rushing yards for a running back and four touchdown receptions by a receiver all contributed to the LaSalle Explorers wild 44-27 showcase game victory over the North Penn Knights at Plymouth Whitemarsh stadium in what may eventually point to a potential rematch of their AAAA eastern championship from a year ago.
What makes players stand out has been the ability to forget about the past mistakes and begin to make plays. LaSalle Quarterback Matt Magarity found himself in that situation and he looked for an old buddy in Senior Colin Buckley to help him turn around his game.
After a scoreless first quarter, Magarity threw the first of his three interceptions giving the ball to the Knights on LaSalle’s 35. Six plays later North Penn’s Ralph Reeves blasted in from the two for a 7-0 lead. LaSalle came right back on their next drive with Magarity connecting with Junior Sean Coleman for gains of 20 and 24 and a Tim Wade 18 yard TD run and a 7-7 tie. North Penn countered immediately with Junior Kyle Mayfield’s 71 yard TD run down the right sideline and later in the quarter with a 16 yard TD pass from Corey Ernst to Don Gevirtz and a 21-10 lead going into the half.
Magarity started the second half on the bench after his second interception. Gordon inserted him back into the lineup after replacing him with Junior Chris Kane for a couple of series. At that point in the game the Explorers needed someone to step up and make a play. Enter Magarity’s childhood friend, Buckley. Getting his second chance, Magarity, found the 6-foot-3 receiver on a nine yard fade pattern for a touchdown. The team pulled to within 21-16. The Knights responded immediately with another long run by Mayfield (75 yards) putting the ball on the five before James Fielder punched it in for a touchdown and a nine point Knight lead. However on LaSalle’s next possession Magarity sold the run with a beautiful play fake and lofted a pass over the outstretched arms of a Knights defender right into Buckley’s hands and a 64 yard TD to bring them to within 27-23.
After a 40 yard punt return by Explorer Casey Eidenshink putting the ball on the Knights 10, LaSalle took their first lead when Magarity rolled the dice on third down from the one with another beautiful play fake and hit Buckley on a hitch pattern in the end zone and an Explorer 30-27 lead.
As one quarterback started to hit his mark, the other began to struggle. Ernst then lost a fumble at their 31 and Magarity went right back to work with his favorite target ending with another nine yard TD to Buckley. Another late touchdown by Tim Wade put the game out of reach for the Knights.
Besides Buckley’s four TD’s Magarity threw for 227 yards. The Knights Mayfield (only a Junior) ran for 206 yards and a touchdown. Reeves played a monster game with a touchdown, an interception and a load of tackles at MLB. Sean Burke was in on a host of tackles for LaSalle. The LaSalle Offensive line of Dan Wasylenko, Connor Kerrigan, Tyler Kern and Patrick Hoffman provided great protection for Magarity in the second half.
Originally North Penn was supposed to have wrapped up a two year, start of season series with western Pa. power Gateway high school. When that didn’t happen these two schools decided to make this showcase series to shape. In addition to their wild eastern AAAA final last year (38-35 LaSalle), this has now become a major league rivalry.
North Penn (SOL Continental Conference) looks to be as formidable as they have been for the last 10 years. No doubt they will contend for the D1 district title. LaSalle will be in the mix of a very competitive PCL schedule.